The University places great importance on improving the depth of knowledge of research students, on developing their transferable, generic and employment-related skills, and on preparing them to complete theses successfully within the allocated time.
Postgraduate students arrive at St Andrews with widely differing levels of expertise and experience in the skills required to advance their research and career. Following the introductory training sessions in Week 1, you will meet with your principal supervisor and postgraduate tutor to carry out an individual skills analysis and to formulate an appropriate programme of training, with elements drawn from courses provided by the University and the School. Your training programme could also feature modules from the taught MRes courses, or courses run outside the University. The latter may include, for example, the Vitae courses supported by the UK Research Councils. Your training programme will be approved by your School Postgraduate Convener and reviewed annually.
The annual report to Faculty on your progress submitted by the School will indicate training completed and identify future training. You must confirm in your annual report to Faculty that you have completed the agreed training and whether or not it is meeting your needs. You are required to maintain a record of the skills training that you have completed. This may also include internal and external seminars, presentations, demonstrations, conferences and teaching and discussion groups. This record must be shown to, and agreed by, the principal supervisor and be available for inspection at your progress review meetings.
Courses included in the School of Biology Postgraduate Training Programme include: Health and Safety, Radiation Protection, Library and IT Facilities, Environmental Techniques, Laboratory Techniques, Introduction to Demonstrating, Essential First Aid in the Laboratory and the Field, Commercialisation of Science and Intellectual Property Rights, Student-Supervisor Interactions, Presentational Skills, How to Create a Web Page, Science and the Media, Ethical Issues. You also get practice at demonstrating practicals and tutoring undergraduate students.
In addition, every year the School organises a two-day Postgraduate Conference, usually in mid-November. The aim is to give you experience of participating in a real conference setting but with an audience of School colleagues (postgraduates and staff) rather than a room full of strangers. First years are simply required to attend. Second years prepare and present a poster presentation.Third years prepare and present a talk. You will get critical feedback on your work and your presentation, and get the opportunity to comment on those of your colleagues. There are prizes for the best talks and posters and a Ceilidh following the Conference.